So I tried again at 9am, after waking up. 'Sorry, we can't handle your call right now, due to extremely high call volumes.'
Then I tried again at 10am, after taking a shower and stuff. This time, infinite hold. After 10 minutes I decided to try a different set of options to maybe trick them into letting me talk to someone, and when I tried 'sales' I was connected *instantly*. This was not a good thing.
The salesman lied his ass off and set me up with an additional dial-up account instead of doing anything useful. When I say 'lied his ass off', I mean 'gave me the wrong answer to simple yes or no questions about what he had just done himself two seconds before'.
Then he put me on hold to 'finish the process', aka 'transfer me to the cancellation department which could actually handle my request'. It took a half hour to connect. The person there at least seemed reasonably competent -- but this is still Earthlink, so I'm reserving judgment until this is all finished and resolved -- although I had to argue with them to actually downgrade back to dialup, since they kept trying to talk me into not doing it. "So did you want to keep this additional dial up account on [other email address]?" "Um... no? I just want the one dialup account on the address I'm already using." "Okay, I'll do that, and undo the stuff the sales department set you up with."
As far as I know, I shouldn't have to call their customer service line again. I just need to mail back the modem when I get the shipping label they said they're sending. So, god-willing, in a week or two I can forget I ever tried to get DSL.